Thursday, January 7, 2016

"Pope wants to know why Serbs and Croats hate each other"

Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej has said that he is not against Roman Catholic Pope Francis visiting Serbia.
Source: Tanjug
In a Christmas interview for Russia's Sputnik agency, Irinej noted that it will be important whether Francis planned to arrive here "as a statesman, or as the Roman pontiff."
"It is known how the Church prepares for either, and what happens. From the point of view of the Church and from my personal point of view, a visit by a representative of a church is a big, important event, and I see nothing bad in it," the partriarch said.

Speaking about the letter that the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) sent to the pope last summer, addressing the attempts to canonize Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, who was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Zagreb during the Second World War and the genocide against Serbs in Croatia, Irinej said the letter stated "what the SPC knows about Stepinac," and that the pope "proposed to set up a commission that will deal with the case."

"He personally cares about finding out the reasons for such hatred and hostility between two Christian peoples that are so close (Serbs and Croats), that has manifested in the past times, and about forming a commission that will investigate the roots of all that," said the patriarch, noting at the same time that the crimes committed against Serbs in Croatia are one of the reasons the pope's visit to Serbia "has been pushed back to a later time."

Speaking about Kosovo, the head of the SPC said that Serbs there continue to suffer, and that many who had to escape want to return to their towns, but cannot because their homes have been demolished and their land usurped.

"Those who returned have not been (well) received, rather, everything is being done to make their survival impossible, and many crimes and misdeeds are happening even now and remain undiscovered and unpunished," he said, adding that many who are controlling the destinies of others "see that, they pretend not to see and not to know, but they know everything."

According to Irinej, the Serbian Church is the only one guarding the holy places in Kosovo and Metohija from destruction, while the issue of its position and property there "should be solved in some forums, should be presented either in Europe or in the United Nations."

"We hope that the conscience of many will awaken, the awareness that this has always been Serbian. Those who made it possible for us to be driven out are to blame for the fact we are not there today, and especially, for not making it possible for us to return," said the patriarch.

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